Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition, Cristiano Banti 1857
Earlier this month, we got an email from someone at Twitter claiming people could confuse whether Tweetlr was developed by us or them. To their credit, the email was calm. No legalese, no pointed cease and desist, just a “Hey, this is probably something we should talk about.”
They felt our use of the name Tweetlr was infringing on their Tweet trademark. Ironic, since the word Tweet was organically created by the users of the Twitter platform itself. I doubt a single employee of Twitter was involved in creating the word Tweet.
Twitter’s claim is groundless
We traded a few emails back and forth. Needless to say, we didn’t agree with their claim. Fundamentally, Twitter’s claim is groundless.
The legal test for trademark infringement is whether “a consumer of the goods or services will be confused as to the identity of the source or origin.” Here, every Tweetlr customer knew the product was developed, marketed and sold by us.
Tweetlr is marketed as a relationship management tool for Twitter. What this means is you have to have a Twitter account leaned towards a business interest, before the need to manage relationships is even relevant to you.
When the time to manage relationships does become relevant, the consumer must then “seek out” a product to fill that need because Twitter does not make such a product.
During that process, the consumer educates himself about who offers relationship management tools and who does not. It is the very process of selecting a product like Tweetlr that eliminates any possibility of confusion.
Some of the people who sought us out were Entertainment Promoters, Rocks Bands, Singers, Song Writers, Open Source Software Promoters, Web Application Development & Design Studios, Writers and even a few Reality TV Stars.
Do these sound like people who execute by mistake? No.
While we disagreed with Twitter’s claim, we didn’t want to get into a protracted legal battle either. Any day you can avoid VC backed lawyers is a good day.
In the end we decided we’d just rename our Tweetlr app. Tweetlr hasn’t been on the market too long so renaming wouldn’t be a huge deal. But, more importantly, we play the long game because that’s what matters most.
So today we announce that Tweetlr is now called Galileo. Galileo is beautiful and inspired by Galileo Galilei - Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution.
Albert Einstein once called him the father of modern science. He helped us realize that it was the Earth that revolved around the Sun and not the other way around. In that, he helped mankind understand it’s place in the Universe and ushered in a time of exploration and reflection.
Galilei’s penchant for discovery and courage speak to the heart of our vision for Galileo. We want Galileo to be a guide and help inform you as your grow your presence on Twitter.
We want you to be interested in connecting with people again. We want Galileo to help inform who you get to know, regardless of whether that person is in a different county or a different continent.
We want Galileo to help you navigate the Twitter Universe and find your place in it. The name has changed, but our promise remains steadfast. You can begin to grow a targeted and relevant audience. One that’s both professionally rewarding and personally fulfilling.
Don’t just play your role. Play a major role. Or don’t play at all.